We all are aware the 2nd Session of the Tenth Parliament was opened on Monday past, where the Governor General delivered the Throne Speech. Her speech was more or less one where she asked St. Lucians to do some serious belt tightening and she also spelt out a litany of legislation which her government is expected to pass during their term.
Yesterday the debate on the estimates of expenditure as put forward by the Standing Finance Committee was begun. The Prime Minister presented the budget for this fiscal year 2012 – 2013 as $1,437,851,100.00. Recurrent revenue totalled at approximately $922m while recurrent expenditure averaged about $962m, a deficit of about $40M. The PM went on to give a breakdown for the various Ministries with percentage increases/decreases over last year’s estimates.
This post is more or less concerned with our District Rep’s contribution to the debate. Being his maiden speech, one would have thought that there would be some signs of nervousness and stalling. No way! He was smooth, composed and with a little sarcasm creeping here and there.
Lorne started his contribution by thanking all his constituents for their support and patience. He wnt on to say that his Ministry has been taking most of his time, hence the reason for him not being too visible over the past five months. This he assured will be remedied. He also reiterated that the trust and confidence placed in him and the Labour Party is well placed.
He went on to speak about the allocations for his Ministry. He continued by echoing the sentiments of a colleague of his about the deficit in the estimates of Expenditure. This he said is nothing new. The members opposite he said are like a “united choir of tailors’ who ar crying and asking that you cut your cloth according to your suit.
The former Minister was heavily criticized for spending lavishly on trips ( one such trip he said was one to Dubai for $45,000.0) and exorbitant cell phone bills. This Lorne promised will not happen under his watch. He informed the House of a website to come on stream very soon to help with the esae of doing business in the country.
Lorne’s contribution was uniquely different from that of the other members of the House. The format which the District Rep used must have been carefully thought out. Whereas all the members took the latter part of their contribution to speak to their constituency, Lorne spoke to both his allocations for his Ministry and his constituency in a cohesive manner. Well formatted delivery,bro!
In speaking to his constituency he made special mention to the communities of Daban, Piaye and Saltibus to get assistance from the Distress fund which quoted is in the vicinity of about $40,000.00. (Su Boy, a father who lost his family in the Morne Sion Disaster last year was specially mention as such a person who will benefit from the fund)
An ambulance station will be set up and an ambulance purchased since in the estimates there is $700,000.00 allocated for this.
The police station he mentioned needs a facelift. The youth of the constituency he says must take full advantage of the Agriculture Youth Enterprise to which $1m is allocated in the budget. He made special mention to the youth of Delcer, La Maze, Derriere Morne, Morne sion and Morne Jacques to get involved in this program.
The misery of the fishermen when it comes to the fish pond was mentioned. The rep thanked the Ministry of agriculture and Infrastructure for the assistance given to dredging the pond. He welcomed the allocation in the budget for the placement of more FADS. A permanent solution for the perennial problem of the pond he hope will be found soon.
$200,000.00 he pronounced has been allocated for the creative industries and the communities of Caffierre, Mongouge and Industry he hopes will take advantage of this.
An allocation of $8m has been approved to the Ministry Of Infrastructure and the Rep is looking forward for the rehabilitation of the Daban, Fiette, and Balca roads. Under the Slopes stabilisation program the Rep will give due attention to Daban and Saltibus while the bridges in Jetrine and Sab Wisha he lamented have outlived their time and wants attention to be given to then. $13m have been allocated in the budget for bridges he said.
Lorne went on to beat his chest saying, “Even a blind man can see jobs, jobs, jobs, in this budget.” He maid mention to the consolidated funds where he mentions that $12m has been allocated for the “Constituency Development.” “STEP is in full force. PROUD is in full force.” He continued. The“Koudment St Lucie” he says must be brought back to aid the elderly and neediest.
Again Daban was mentioned. This time the Rep sent out special thanks to the residents and promised them that their community centre will be rehabilitated and equipped. The Mongouge multi-purpose centre he says will be made into a full-fledged centre.
On education and sports he informed the House, his listeners and viewers that the Choiseul Secondary, Dugard Primary Piaye School (not sure which school) and the Mongouge Primary will undergo repairs. The Delcer, Piaye and Saltibus playing fields will be upgraded. Earlier in his contribution the Minister of Youth and sports made mention of the lighting for the La Fargue field.
The Tete Morne Women Cricketers the rep says need a playing area to practice their cricket. $2M he says has been allocated in the budget for playing fields.
In closing he said, “Bitter days were there before, but now it’s better days.” Wow!